Mark Twain once famously said that I would be “more disappointed” by the things I didn’t do than the ones I did. “Sail away from the safe harbour”, he encouraged. “Catch the trade winds in your sails”, he commanded. “Explore. Dream. Discover”.
I can’t say that I would follow all the advice of Mark Twain, but on this occasion, his words could have been expressly reserved for me. You see, seven years ago, my husband and I packed up our entire lives, got rid of all our material possessions and took our most valuable commodities (two girls, a boy and a dog) on a worldwide expedition. And I’ve never looked back.
The first thoughts I had about travelling came to me during a very difficult time in my life. With a very sick father and a young baby who was just a few months old, I was viewing life through a prism, and the angle that was created between my frail father and exuberant daughter on the cusp of life itself was wide. It would still take a further seven years of wrestling with my doubts and fears until I fully realised the need to live life to the full, and squeeze every drop of opportunity out of it before it is too late. Not in 40 years and not for a week or two, but today, now, every day.
Thus, the seven-year-long decision to leave was made, and off we went. To taste as much of the world as we could, on a very low budget but with a very happy soul.
First stop was Europe, before moving on to southeast Asia. We lived on what little money we had saved, and devoted our resources to combining our new travelling lifestyle with work. But it wasn’t easy, and by the end of the first year my husband and the dog moved back home.
I continued to travel with the kids. The passports filled up with stamps as our hearts were simultaneously imprinted with deep and meaningful memories. Hours were spent trekking and surfing down rivers in Nepal, days were enjoyed camping and before we knew it, years had passed. Experiencing life in remote villages without electricity or running water, riding horses to the Siberian border, cycling across Vietnam, shopping in Thailand, spending six weeks in a tent in wild Mongolia and a dash of luxury in the sporadic beach hotel, the kids have been imbued with various cultures, tasting foods and seeing things that very few their age can attest to. Meeting hundreds of people and hearing dozens of languages, it was inevitable that they would learn to speak English, Nepali and Hindi fluently, too.
A great deal of love and happiness has come our way, and for that we are truly blessed. However, we have also had our fair share of heartache, too, in the decision my husband and I made in the summer of 2013 to make our separation official.
This has, inevitably, set me many challenges – physically, mentally and emotionally – as it sharpened my need for total economic independence that is dependent on me alone.
It’s been seven years now – or 2,555 days. I have poured my soul into a website – and now two eBooks - which is a place anyone can visit to help make their dreams come true. I am truly blessed to be living the dream – and helping others live theirs, too.
Want to consult with me? Need a recommendation to a specific destination you’re planning to visit? Want my help in planning a trip to southeast Asia? Want to know costs?